Tribes Sue Oil Companies Over Climate Change

8 08 2008

On February 26, 2008, the Inupiat Eskimo Village of Kivalina, Alaska sued twenty-three oil companies and power companies in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for damages caused by climate change. The Complaint alleges that global warming is destroying Kivalina through the melting of Arctic sea ice that formerly protected the Village from winter storms. The Complaint seeks the costs of relocating the Village, among other things. While the Complaint alleges typical causes of action for public nuisance and private nuisance, it also includes a cause of action for civil conspiracy. In that cause of action, the Village alleges that some of the defendants “participated and/or continue to participate in an agreement with each other to mislead the public with respect to the science of global warming and to delay public awareness of the issue—so that they could continue contributing to, maintaining and/or creating the nuisance without demands from the public that they change their behavior as a condition of further buying their products.”

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